The languages of Midrealm are pretty much the same language with variations, similar to modern Swedish and Norwegian, we can understand one another in speech and text, but it’s very clear they are different to the people speaking it. These dialects are not as different as modern Swedish/Norwegian, nor as different as some of the Anglo/Saxon languages of the Anglian kingdoms, but they are different enough to be an important social implication when speaking to people.
If you have an Oakshield accent speaking to people from the Kingdom of Haldean, they will treat you worse than if you had a Vasj accent, and would even treat you well if it was a Wyny accent. Naturally, if you speak with an Haldean accent, you will be treated like a local!
Each kingdom has a dialect, and each dialect sounds sort of similar to dialects of the kingdoms surrounding that dialect. Though it’s perfectly acceptable to speak a Kingdom’s general accent, Even within one Kingdom, there are different dialects in each city and land area (within Capitoleum there are even different accents). There can be many advantages of being able to speak in a particular accent at a particular time.
If I was so inclined I would make skill ranks in the actual language, but there isn;t any good support for that in DnD, Translocation taught me that!
To train in a language, you spend the skill points (or train) which enables you to read and write in that language. Each ability bonus of Int beyond 0 also allows one bonus starting language. The languages you have easily available are:
- Common (dialect from where you learned it, or “Common (common)” if you are a non-human)
- Elven (common)
- Dwarven (common)
- Halfling (common)
- Draconic (no dialects) (special circumstances to get this)
To learn a dialect, you must first know the base language, usually Common. To learn a dialect or to take it as a bonus language, you spend 1/4 the cost it would take to learn said language. Fractions of skill points can be used on other dialects or saved for a later date. Fractions of days training to learn a dialect are lost.
Elves, Dwarves and Halflings also have dialects, but they are almost impossible to find a person interested in teaching any particular accent, and it’s not really useful unless you already have extensive knowledge of the inner cultural workings of these people so that you can use the dialect to any effect.
As stated, dialects are similar depending on geographic location. Two local merchants from each side of Capitoleum may not be able to understand each other, but to the adventurer from Midnight, they sound exactly the same.
To accurately recognise where a person is from by his dialect (if it is a dialect you are not speaking yourself), make a Knowledge (Local: extended Capitoleum region):
- DC7 to determine general area (Midrealm, Southrealm, Northrealm, other).
- DC13 to determine N/W/S/E direction within that area.
- DC20 to determine the Kingdom of origin.
- DC25 to determine regional area or city.
Situational modifiers to the roll:
- +10 to recognise the Capitoleum (common) dialect.
- +7 to recognise the main dialects (Menthell, Haldean, Artipellin, Wyny and Edmyr).
- +3 to recognise city dialects among the main dialects.
- +10 if you can speak a dialect that is a direct neighbour (Kingdom or reion/city).
- +5 if you can speak a dialect that is a secondary neighbour (Kingdom or reion/city).
- +1 for every week you have spent in that area.
- +1 for every two weeks you spent in a neighbour area.
- +1 for every four weeks you spent in a secondary neighbour area.
Since all people have their own speaking style, this roll is made any time the character wants to figure out the dialect of a person she have not met before. Retry allowed after gaining knowledge of a new dialect or managed to recieve a bonus on a related roll through the modifiers.